All You Need To Know About Rhodes College

Rhodes College boasts a fascinating history dating back to its inception in 1848 as the Masonic University of Tennessee in Clarksville. With strong ties to the Presbyterian Church, the college evolved into Southwestern Presbyterian University in 1875, even adding an undergraduate School of Theology for a time. However, changes ensued, and in 1925, under President Charles Diehl’s guidance, the college made a significant move to Memphis, Tennessee, where it was known as Southwestern. Finally, in 1984, the college was rechristened Rhodes College as a premier liberal arts and sciences institution in tribute to former president Peyton Nalle Rhodes. Over the past two decades, Rhodes has seen a surge in enrollment from students across the nation, cementing its status as one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges.

Rhodes College’s campus, nestled on a picturesque 123-acre wooded site in the heart of historic Midtown Memphis, offers students and faculty a nurturing environment dedicated to academic excellence and personal growth. From the inviting walkways and charming quadrangles to the cozy residence halls and dynamic classrooms, every aspect of the campus is thoughtfully designed to foster meaningful interactions, intellectual exchange, and lifelong connections. The campus boasts a timeless Collegiate Gothic architecture, with iconic buildings like Southwestern Hall, Kennedy Hall, and Robb and White dormitories dating back to 1925. Designed by renowned architects such as Henry Hibbs and H. Clinton Parrent, these historic structures seamlessly blend with newer additions like the Paul Barret Jr. Library, known for its stunning design and comprehensive collection. Recent expansions, including the Catherine S. Burrow Refectory, West Village Residence Hall, and Robertson Hall, exemplify Rhodes’ commitment to providing state-of-the-art scientific research and learning facilities while maintaining the campus’s signature architectural style.

At Rhodes College, 75% of students dedicate themselves to service, internships, or studying abroad. With over 100 student clubs and organizations catering to diverse interests, Rhodes College has something for everyone. Nearly half of the student body finds their community in Greek Life chapters, while others cheer on their peers at one of the 20 NCAA Division III teams.

But Rhodes is more than just activities and achievements. It’s about upholding values. All first-year students participate in a ceremony pledging to the Rhodes Honor System, a code of integrity that emphasizes honesty and respect. 

Student Cohort Size

Rhodes College has a total student population of approximately 2,000 students. The admitted students represent 48 states (plus D.C.) and 63 countries. 35% of the admitted multicultural and international students bring a wealth of unique perspectives and traditions that enrich both the classroom and campus life. 

Four-Year Completion Rate

The graduation rate is among the most important factors when selecting a college. Rhodes College’s first-year retention rate is 87%. This means 87% of first-year students continue their education for their sophomore year and beyond. The 4-year graduation rate is 79%. This implies that 79% of students were able to graduate after 4 years. The 6-year graduation rate is 83%. This implies that 83% of students were able to graduate after 6 years.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The student-faculty ratio at Rhodes College is 9:1. 72% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.


Acceptance Rate

Rhodes College received 5,253 applicants and admitted a total of 2,809 students with a 54% acceptance rate. 57% of the admitted students were women, and 43% of the admitted students were men. 

Acceptance GPA

93% of the admitted students at Rhodes College have a GPA of 3.50 or greater.

Types of Admission

Rhodes College’s applicants can apply through the Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision programs. Early Decision is a binding admission plan for students who have determined that Rhodes College is their first choice and feel they can present a strong application without reviewing senior grades. Students admitted through the Early Decision admission plan are required to cancel their applications elsewhere and enroll in Rhodes College. Early Action is a non-binding and unrestrictive admission plan that may be an attractive option for those who feel they can present a strong application without senior grades being reviewed. Regular Decision is a non-binding and unrestrictive admission plan that allows students more time to complete the application and to have grades from the first term of their senior year considered in the review.

Application Components

All required parts of the Common Application. 

Official high school transcript: An official high school transcript will display courses and grades for all years of high school attended. 

Mid-year grades: Mid-year grades are the first semester or first trimester grades from your final year of high school.

Secondary School Report and Counselor Recommendation: The guidance counselor’s recommendation should detail academic and personal preparedness for post-secondary education.

Letter of Recommendation from a High School Teacher: Recommendations must be from core academic teachers who worked with a student in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. You may submit more than one recommendation if you wish, but no more than three.

Standardized Test Scores: While test scores are optional for students applying for fall 2023 and fall 2024, the average SAT scores for admitted students were between 1350 and 1450, and the average ACT scores were between 28 and 32.


Record your Elevator Pitch (Optional): Submit a 90-second video telling us more about yourself. Record it here, and it will come directly to Rhodes! This is optional, but if you’re choosing to do it, we recommend submitting the Elevator Pitch at least within a week of your application deadline so that it is reviewed as part of your application.


Rhodes College fosters a unique academic experience with personalized attention and academic rigor. Students and professors team up to explore questions that truly matter. The faculty at Rhodes College believes in the power of engaging dialogue, where students are listeners and contributors to the big ideas and critical discussions happening in the classrooms and labs. With 18 academic departments and 13 interdisciplinary programs, Rhodes offers over 70 majors, minors, and academic programs, ensuring a diverse and enriching educational journey. Experiential learning at Rhode College prepares students for a life filled with intellectual curiosity, leadership, service, and fulfilling work. Rhodes also offers advanced degrees, personalized counseling, and unique programs, including the Master of Science in Accounting and Dual Degree options. 

Most Popular Majors

Neuroscience and Neurobiology
International Relations
Political Science and Government
Computer Science

Cost of Attendance

Tuition                               $54,082
Fees                                    $810
Housing & Food               $12,910

Total                                $67,802

In conclusion, Rhodes College is a beacon of academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and community engagement. With its picturesque campus, rigorous academic programs, vibrant student life, and commitment to integrity, Rhodes offers a transformative educational experience that prepares students for success in a dynamic world. As Rhodes continues to evolve and innovate, it remains dedicated to its founding principles while embracing new opportunities to empower students to lead lives of purpose and impact. With a rich history and a promising future, Rhodes College continues to inspire generations of scholars, leaders, and changemakers.

Embark on a transformative higher education journey and elevate your path to academic success with the expert guidance and personalized support of an Ivy Central college counselor.


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